Lidded Ewer and Basin
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Saint-Cloud Porcelain Manufactory
French; porcelain: early 1700s; mounts: 1717 - 1722
Soft-paste porcelain, underglaze blue decoration; silver mounts


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Decorated with a finely painted pattern of blue lambrequins, the ewer and basin would have sat on a dressing table to be used for washing in a bedroom or chambre de toilette. The motifs were influenced by the engravings of Jean Bérain, chief designer to Louis XIV. The simple silver mounts, made in Paris around 1720 and decorated with gadrooning, are a rare addition.

These vessels were produced at Saint-Cloud, the first major manufactory in France to make soft-paste porcelain, part of Europe's attempts to imitate genuine Chinese or Japanese porcelain. The factory's success lay in its ability to produce attractive and reasonably priced alternatives to metalwork or true porcelain.

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